Local News - Issue 203

Egyptian side Al Ahly have started negotiations to sign Orlando Pirates midfielder Oupa Manyisa. According to a report, Ahly vice president Taher Al Shaikh confirmed the move for the midfielder in the next transfer window. "We started negotiation with Oupa Manyisa in the last couple of days and we want to sign him after the technical team saw him and he impressed us," said Al Shaikh. - Full Story via Kickoff

Free State Stars goalkeeper Daniel Agyei insists he is still hoping to be selected as one of the three goalkeepers for Ghana’s 2014 World Cup squad despite not being first choice at his club following a hernia injury. Agyei has battled to win his place back as first choice since returning from injury at Stars – a club that is also facing a difficult fight of making sure they avoid relegation and the dreaded play-offs. “I have long recovered from my injury which is why I actually played against Mamelodi Sundowns (March 18)” says Agyei. Agyei – who was part of the Black Stars squad in their last World Cup qualifier against Egypt last year - spent the first-half of the season as first choice goalkeeper but following his injury he has since been overtaken by Tshepo Motsoeneng. With fellow Black Stars goalkeeper Fatau Dauda facing a similar game time dilemma at Orlando Pirates the issue of the goalkeepers that will be selected for the World Cup has become a subject of interest in the West African country.

Orlando Pirates midfielder Oupa Manyisa and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa are threatening to break Themba Mnguni’s modern-day PSL record of most starts in a single season. Mnguni set his 48-game record in 1997-98 when he started every official game for Mamelodi Sundowns, featuring through all 34 League games, six Bob Save Super Bowl games and eight Rothmans Cup matches. Sundowns reached the finals of both the Bob Save and Rothmans Cup, with both matches being decided on penalties in replays after draws in the first games. Manyisa has racked up an astonishing 44 matches in 2013/14, being one of the few outfield players for Pirates that has not succumbed to a long-term injury. - Full Story via Kickoff

South Africa have confirmed they will participate in the 2014 Cosafa Cup to be held in Botswana in September, one of seven teams from the region to give a positive response so far. The tournament is scheduled to be held between September 13-28, sandwiched between the first and second set of qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, with South Africa only likely to take part in the second week of the tournament when the quarter-finals start. Safa have confirmed their participation ahead of the April 25 deadline, along with Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Seychelles, Lesotho and Swaziland. - Full Story via Kickoff

Congolese striker Eddy Emomo is set to appear in AmaZulu colours next season after finalising a deal with the Durban-based side. Emomo turned down interest from teams in Israel before impressing on a trial with Craig Rosslee's outfit.

AmaZulu striker Bongani Ndulula says he hopes to extend his contract "very soon", with his existing deal expiring in June. Usuthu have a one-year option on the former Orlando Pirates man. "My contract is due to expire in June but I have a one-year option," says Ndulula. "I have not yet extended it but I am hopeful I will very soon.I am enjoying my stay in Durban and I am getting game-time with AmaZulu, which is very important," adds the 24-year-old.

Soweto is licking its lips at the prospect of a Kaizer Chiefs vs Orlando Pirates Nedbank Cup Final after they were kept apart in the semi-final draw. Steve Komphela's Martitzburg United will host Pirates, while Gavin Hunt's Bidvest Wits entertain Chiefs in the last four. 89 goals have been scored in the 2014 Nedbank Cup. The Nedbank Goals for Goals campaign amounts to R890 000 so far (R10 000 per goal).
Nedbank Cup semi-finals:
Maritzburg United vs Orlando Pirates
Bidvest Wits vs Kaizer Chiefs
Dates and venues yet to be announced, but were provisionally set aside for the weekend of 3 May.

National U-17 coach Molefi Ntseki is pleased with his team's preparations for a four-nation tournament, getting underway in Namibia this week. Amajimbos played a friendly against the SAFA Transnet School of Excellence, having held their first two training sessions on Saturday morning.  Ntseki's charges will play against hosts Namibia, Ghana and an invitational German team, Westphalia.

Black Leopards' automatic promotion hopes ended after losing 1-0 to United FC in the only National First Division fixture on the weekend. Leopards, who can still challenge for a spot in the PSL via the play-offs, were undone by Siyabonga Zulu’s goal, with both sides failing to convert penalties. Chippa United have all but ensured automatic promotion, as they are 10 points clear at the summit. Lidoda Duva, in second place, have three games left. Milano United, in third, will need to win their remaining four matches handsomely and hope the Chilli Boys lose their remaining four games to move level on points. Chippa, though, currently enjoy a superior goal difference. Jomo Cosmos are level with Milano on 42 points.

Mamelodi Sundowns are on the verge of signing Platinum Stars midfielder Lindokuhle Mbatha. Mbatha, who was linked to Chloorkop in January, is likely to join Sundowns after the club's met to discuss the move according to a club source. "There was a positive outcome from the meeting. The offer is already on the table for the player. Stars want two players from Sundowns as part of a swap-deal.” - Full Story via Kickoff

A never-say-die attitude by Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana saw them come from behind to draw 2-2 with rivals Zimbabwe in an entertaining friendly international at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The lunch-time kick off match saw new coach Vera Pauw’s charges overhaul a 2-0 deficit to grab a deserved draw before a boisterous crowd that cheered them throughout. - Full Story via Kickoff

Kaizer Chiefs have handed a clearance to reserve team goalkeeper Vusi Maseko, paving the way for him to chase a first-team contract elsewhere. Maseko, who has also spent time in the Mamelodi Sundowns reserve team, has been with the Chiefs reserves under the guidance of Donald Khuse and Konti Khubeka since last year and occasionally trained with the first team. John Mphatsoe, who represents the 20-year-old keeper, confirms the issuing of the clearance noting that they are now seeking PSL opportunities at other clubs. - Full Story via Kickoff

Benson Mhlongo’s future with Platinum Stars has come under scrutiny after the 33-year-old reportedly questioned some of the tactics being implemented by coach Allan Freese. One of the senior players at Dikwena, Mhlongo’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season. And while the Rustenburg-based side have a one-year option on the former Orlando Pirates man, they are yet to give an indication as to whether they will retain his services. Mhlongo has not played in his club's previous four games, with his last outing coming in a 3-1 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns on 25 March.

Bloemfontein Celtic coach Ernst Middendorp says striker Lerato Manzini is not doing enough at training to warrant a place in the starting line-up. Manzini has not seen much game-time since Middendorp took over the coaching reins at Celtic and the striker is already being linked with a move away from Siwelele next season. The Phunya Sele Sele coach says there is no bad blood between him and Manzini and is hoping the player will get his chance very soon. - Full Story via Kickoff

Orlando Pirates have opened negotiations with defender Siyabong Sangweni with the hope of extending his stay at Parktown next season. Sangweni's contract with Pirates is set to expire at the end of June this year and he has already been linked with a move to Mamelodi Sundowns. According to a source at Bucs, the club chairman Irvin Khoza has met with the former Golden Arrows defender to offer him a new contract. "Siya has had a series of meetings with the management and met with Dr Khoza recently," says the source."Negotiations are ongoing. He wants a much-improved package to match what Sundowns want to give him."

Bloemfontein Celtic have released Zimbabwean striker Rodreck Mutuma, Celtic CEO Khumbulani Konco confirms. Mutuma has battled for game-time since the arrival of Ernst Middendorp, playing just two games since the German coach took over. “We have parted ways with Mutuma because the coach said he will not be using him. The player wants game-time and he will not get it here so we have reached an agreement to terminate his contract and give him his clearance,” said Konco. The 26-year-old only joined Celtic at the beginning of last year from Dynamos but has battled in Bloemfontein. He is now mostly likely to return home and possibly rejoin his former club. - Full Story via Kickoff

Mpumalanga Black Aces are doing everything in their power to keep Themba Zwane, Abel Mabaso, Abia Nale and Jackson Mabokgwane for next season. Zwane and Mabaso are currently on loan to Aces from Mamelodi Sundowns, Nale is on loan from Kaizer Chiefs and Mabokgwane is on loan from Bidvest Wits. The trio have played a big part in Amazayoni's success this season and coach Clive Baker has already instructed the club management to keep them for next season. - Full Story via Kickoff

Mamelodi Sundowns have one hand on the Q3 prize money, but Bidvest Wits could still snatch the R1.5-million from under their noses. Sundowns top the Q3 table with 18 points after beating Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 last week Wednesday as Kaizer Chiefs lost 1-0 to Mpumalanga Black Aces. However, Gavin Hunt's Clever Boys will win Q3 if they can beat Orlando Pirates by three clear goals when the two teams meet on April 30 at Bidvest Stadium. - Full Story via Kickoff

Ajax Cape Town and young midfielder Ndumiso Vezi have reportedly parted ways, according to club PRO Thabiso Mekuto. Vezi was last recovering from injury after he was knocked down by a car in June last year and has not played in months. Despite early reports that he was making progress and was slowly returning to full training, he is not part of Ajax's plans going forward. "Vezi is no longer an Ajax Cape Town player ever since he disappeared over a month ago," said Mekuto."He returned to the club about two days ago but was told he's been released." It is understood that the 22-year-old is still contracted to the Urban Warriors.

AmaZulu coach Craig Rosslee has confirmed that Tapuwa Kapini will miss the rest of season with a neck injury. Kapini said last week: "I may go for the operation on Monday if the healing process is not improving. With regards to the season, I don't think I will play again. I can't straighten up my neck and you can see I have a neck brace."Now Rosslee has confirmed: "The latest report we got from the doctors is that he is officially out for the season and it looks like it was more serious than we thought as a club," Rosslee said. - Full Story via Kickoff

Bafana Bafana have continued their slide down the FIFA World Rankings, slipping to 66th overall. Gordon Igesund's side also slipped to 14th in Africa – hardly the ideal situation with the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers around the corner. Libya and Senegal were the big climbers in CAF, rising nine and six places respectively, while Ivory Coast rose three places to top the continental standings, and go 21st overall. - Full Story via Kickoff

SA players abroad
Thulani Serero scored for Ajax Amsterdam in their 3-1 win over ADO Den Haag on Sunday but will have to wait to be crowned a champion in Holland. Ajax lead second placed Feyenoord by six points with just two rounds to play, meaning they will need just a draw with Heracles on April 27. Even a defeat could see them take the title if Feyenoord don’t take full points from Cambuur.

Kamohelo Mokotjo returned from an ankle injury to play as PEC Zwolle’s top eight hopes ended with a 1-1 draw at RKC Waalwijk.
Ayanda Nkili continues to grow in Sweden as he completed another fine performance in the heart of the defence for Orebro in their 1-1 draw with AIK Stokholm in the Swedish top-flight.
Nkili, another excellent product of Farouk Khan’s Stars of Africa Academy, is in his first season in the top tier in Sweden having helped Orebro win promotion last year.
Mark Mayambela (Djurgardens) and Sive Phekezela (Gefle) both missed their side’s defeats in the Swedish League this weekend through injury.
Lebohang Phiri played for Brondby as they were beaten 2-0 by Aalborg, their slim title hopes now gone, while Joel Untersee was a second half substitute as FC Vaduz took another big step towards promotion to the Swiss top-flight with a 3-2 win over Winterthur.
Ayanda Patosi was back on the bench for Belgian side Lokeren as they lost 2-1 to Anderlecht in the championship playoffs. Patosi came on with 18 minutes remaining but could not turn the game around for his side.
Anele Ngcongca did not feature for Genk in their 2-2 draw with Standard Liege as he was suspended.
Darren Keet was in goal for Kortrijk as they moved to the top of their UEFA Europa League playoff mini-league with a 4-1 thrashing of Mechelen.
Andile Jali started for Oostende in their 2-0 win over Lierse that moved them to the summit of the other Europa League qualification pool.
Steven Pienaar was again missing for Everton through injury as they moved into the English Premiership top four with a scrappy 1-0 win at Sunderland, but Kagisho Dikgacoi hobbled off after just 19 minutes for Crystal Palace in their vital win by the same scoreline over Aston Villa that should just about seal their survival this season.
Bournemouth remain two points off the promotion play-off places despite a disappointing 1-1 draw at struggling Yeovil Town. Andrew Surman started and Tokelo Rantie came on after 80 minutes but could not help his side win.
Dean Furman was replaced on 77 minutes for Doncaster Rovers as they lost 2-1 at Ipswich Town to remain just three points above the drop-zone and in real danger of going down.
Young left-back Kgosi Ntlhe, restored to the starting line-up, scored the only goal of the game as Peterborough United took another big step towards the League One playoffs with a 1-0 success over Coventry City.
Daylon Claasen came on after 65 minutes of Lech Poznan’s 3-0 win over Gornik Zabrze that sees them finish second in the table in the regular season. The top seven sides now advance to the championship playoffs.
Keegan Ritchie was again missing through injury for Slavia Prague as they lost 3-0 at city rivals Sparta Prague to remain just a single point above the drop-zone.

Ricardo Nunes was replaced just after halftime for Levski Sofia as they lost 2-1 at home to Litex Lovech in their Bulgarian championship playoff. It is a potentially fatal blow to their hopes of playing European football next season.
Ethan Sampson made a step-up in his career at Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps when he was named on the bench for the 1-0 loss at LA Galaxy. It is the first time the 20-year-old former ASD Academy graduate has been named among the substitutes for his side.
And finally, in the American second-tier, Tiya Shipalane got his season under way with a 1-1 draw at Indy Eleven. The South African got the assist for his side’s goal.